tommy.jensen@sbs.su.se johan.sandstrom@ltu.se

Category Archives: LKAB

At a conference


On October 20-21, we participated at the annual conference for business studies in Sweden, FEKIS, at Uppsala University. During the day, our project was one out of three examples of scholars in business studies researching societies; a session built on the idea of research challenging the predominant focus on formal organizations. Besides Organizing rocks, there were Caroline Wigren’s study of Gnosjö and Mikael Holmqvist’s study of Djursholm. Our project, however, […]

Moods in the field


The morale of this story is that any kind of social science research implies going in and out of moods. Being in a mood, and throughout life, in different contexts, going in and out of moods, is a precondition for human lives. And of course, this is a lived experience that is totally left out in social science textbooks, conferences and PhD education. Different moods imply different conversations, different writing, […]

Feeling it, knowing it


The blogpost by Anette Hallin on August 30 was – besides a really good read – very timely. On the most recent trip to Kiruna (August 23-25), the importance of enrolling senses and sensibilities beyond the analytical part of the brain proved itself again. This time, Johan traveled alone so in his words: When in Kiruna, I usually don’t wake up when they blast at night, but this time it […]

The way of the iron ore


The theater group Tornedalsteatern/Tornionlaakson teatteri works to enhance the interest for the culture and language (meänkieli) of people living in Torndealen, close to the border between Finland and Sweden. The group is a mix of amateurs and professionals doing very professional productions. Their latest project is a theater called Malmens väg/Malmin tie/Málmma geaidnu (the way of the ore) and is about the role of the iron ore mines in the […]

Different stories about the collective


Early on in the project we talked to workers and managers that had worked at the Kiruna mine for a long time. Among the topics discussed was whether or not there is a worker collective today; in a deeper sense than in terms of union membership. A collective who can collectively agree that they have had enough and from that act in unison. At the time the story we heard […]

Meeting Sami people


What is so obvious in the labor process in the uranium mine in Saskatchewan – the integration of indigenous people – is less so in the Kiruna case. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Sami people in and around Kiruna aren’t drawn into and affected by the labour process in the Kiruna mine. We think of the picture heading this post, the LKAB moose and the reindeer, and the […]

Precarious times


Working life in the mine is not turbulent at the moment, not at all, but due to the current re-organization it’s very precarious, uncertain, insecure, unreliable, unsure, unpredictable… This is not only the case for blue collar workers and white collar workers in service positions who are unsure of where employments will be cut (cause there’ll be cut downs), but also for managers, particularly middle managers. At LKAB in Kiruna, […]

Annual meeting


Yesterday, Johan attended LKAB:s annual meeting in Luleå, Sweden. It was an interesting, maybe even odd, experience (see a picture gallery further down). A lot of suits, difficult to know how many attended, maybe 50 people. I feel rather alone in my hoodie (or bunny-hug as they say in Saskatchewan). Besides top management and board members of LKAB, the Swedish Minister of Industry, Mikael Damberg, was there, our national superstar […]

End of the road? Part 4


We’re not allowed anymore to go inside the gates in Kiruna, to meet workers and managers during their work-time. This is the message from both LKAB:s top management and the chairman of the board, a message that is unfortunate for the project but that we, of course, will respect. The song “Outside the Gates” is an emotional response to this decision, but as the first line goes: “This is not […]

Working hard or hardly working?


On March 18, local newspapers report that two workers at LKAB:s iron ore mine in Malmberget (125 km from Kiruna) have been caught furnishing a secret sleeping room at work. On March 26, they are fired. Two other workers chose to resign. On March 20, we arrive in Kiruna, and the first person we meet is the man delivering the rental car. He is born and raised in Kiruna, and […]

Blast (gotta move)


“Blast (gotta move)” is a song about the anxiety of knowing what you have but not what you get, of trying to act collectively but faced with separate negotiations, with not knowing whether or not to afford what the market-conditions dictate, with up-rooting children if leaving Kiruna town is the only viable solution, about having to leave the beautiful scenery appearing outside the kitchen window, about the state withdrawing, leaving movement of […]

Racial structures in the labour process


Visiting Kiruna means several hotel nights. Hanging out at the hotel, it becomes quite obvious that Kiruna, although very unique, is a familiar site in that: immigrant labour is very visible in the service part of society. Hence, at the hotel, the cleaners we meet and greet are immigrants, the breakfast staff is more mixed. So what? Besides an observation, most likely relevant to many other service institutions in our society, what does […]